Class of 1968, BS in Chemical Engineering
I started my career working offshore of Louisiana – including a short time as a drilling engineer (even then hydraulic fracturing was old 1948 technology). Within a few years I settled into plastics manufacturing. I moved from engineering into plant management then general management. As the manufacturing moved away from the U.S., I went to Mexico, like many (for most of the 1990s). As work started moving to Asia, my colleagues sent me to China to explore possibilities there – I reported we could only compete in niche industries and decided it was time to retire (in 1999). This gave me more time for social justice causes (my Susan and I have been working for over 20 years to improve the health of folks in the central region of Ghana – fresh water, schools, hospitals, etc.), helping war refugees, environmental justice, etc.
In the chemical engineering department, I was thought of as the class mechanic (Dr. White’s description) – I was not the best student by wide measure, but I knew how to run a lathe. My dad was a machinist who taught himself engineering and then moved into senior management. I was educated as an engineer, taught myself machining, welding, etc., and too moved into senior management. We both led by example. My engineer friends correctly define me as trying to re-invent the steam engine. You would be accurate to call my craziness “functional steam punk art” – my current engine project is a five-cylinder, triple-expansion engine. I also design and build boilers. The photo is one of my “simple” engines. My other weird hobby – I’ve been growing orchids for 40 years.
This tendency to the mechanical side of chemical engineering would explain why all my five patents are for product designs, not process development or new materials.
Susan and I live on the Delaware coast – a long ways from Arizona, but this is home to Susan and her family. We love it here, except during the summer season when the tourists come. Susan and I met on an eco-tour in Costa Rica.